Today we are using former Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam's most famous catchcry to invite Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Premier Daniel Andrews to drive the region's crumbling roads - 'It's time'.
One of Mr Albanese's government's first acts was to cut $40m funding the previous Liberal government had committed for upgrades to south-west roads. That money had been "inactive" or unspent, according to the federal government. Indeed it had because the Labor state government led by Daniel Andrews had dithered and politicked over a requirement it had to commit a further 20 per cent.
We have asked the federal government several times why the decision was made. It's time the federal government answered. It's also time Mr Albanese's government better understand the condition of our roads.
It's time Mr Andrews visited Warrnambool. The last time he visited the city was in July 2017. That was for an announcement about upgrades to our unreliable train service. After hundreds of millions of federal and state government funds have been spent on track and signalling improvements, we are still waiting for new trains.
Mr Andrews has of course been to other parts of the region since then but our roads, which have been a crumbling mess for years under both Labor and the Coalition, have deteriorated further. And they will only continue to crumble until a meaningful long-term solution is found and funded.
Earlier this week we used social media to ask our readers to nominate their worst stretch of road in the region.
"You expect just the one road to be mentioned? That's funny," was one reply.
Another person said: "Would be better to list the few that are OK. And then get to fixing everything else." Sadly those contributions sum up the situation.
It's time our roads stopped being used as a political football. It's time real solutions are found. The reality is many of our roads have lasted well beyond their intended life. We all know it's cheaper to maintain an asset than build new but at some point you have to cease patch-up jobs and bite the bullet.
We have campaigned on your behalf for decades now. We have had some successes. But we need to move beyond calling for this road or that road to be upgraded, we need more meaningful change. Now that we have Labor in power at both federal and state level, could we get an agreement on a sustainable way of funding upgrades devoid of politics? It's time.
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